40 and Fabulous

The number doesn’t thrill me, but everything else about being 40 is actually fabulous. I have so much in my life to be thankful for, and I have never felt better.

 

I turned 40 back in November, and while I can’t say I dreaded it, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I distinctly remember when my dad turned 40 and the surprise birthday bash my mom sprung on him, and it was mind boggling that I was that old now, too.

The number doesn’t thrill me, but everything else about being 40 is actually fabulous. I have so much in my life to be thankful for, and I have never felt better. I grew a ton in my 20’s, like many people do in that transition from college to ‘real life.’  But it was my 30’s that took me to my knees in periods of stark contrast of desperate prayer and thanksgiving.

I married the love of my life when I was 30, had Basil when I was 32, and Levi when I was 34. I started my own business, building my reputation as a top nutrition expert. Life was good. I had it all.

Then 2011 hit and my beloved husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. After an 11-month battle, I became a widow with two kids aged 3 and 5 at the age of 37. I was a shell of the woman I used to be…physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I claimed to be much stronger at times than I really was. I cried in my car daily after I dropped my kids at school and curled up into the fetal position in a state of grief many evenings for months on end. I tried to have a relationship with a man, thinking I was ready to date about a year after my husband’s death, but realized I wasn’t ready. I was too thin, addicted to running. No part of me was fabulous.

After years of therapy, counsel with friends and family, and many talks with God, I have gotten to the point of feeling like me again. I had to re-discover who I was without my late husband. I was a single mom, sole provider for my family, and CEO of my own company. The weight on my shoulders was heavy, but little by little it became lighter as I became stronger. I ran less and started strength training and gained ten pounds, mostly of muscle.

So now, at the beginning of this next decade of my life, I can honestly say that I am 40 and fabulous. I just got re-married to a man whom I feel connected to on every level. I gained his two boys to called stepsons, bringing our brood to a family of six, and I am the only female, which I actually love. I was born to be a mom to boys.

I am sure this next decade will also bring it’s fair share of pain and heartache, but the times of happiness and pure joy will carry me through. I have never been in better shape physically, more emotionally resilient, more mentally tough, and more spiritually aligned.

Cheers to 40!  Bring it on!

Tara Collingwood
MS, RDN, CSSD, LD/N
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

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